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Obama vows retaliation for suspected Russian hacking

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    White House press secretary Josh Earnest speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. Earnest answered questions about Russian hacking, healthcare and other topics.

WASHINGTON >> President Barack Obama is promising that the U.S. will retaliate against Russia for its suspected meddling in America’s election process, an accusation the Kremlin has vehemently denied.

Amid calls on both sides of the political aisle on Capitol Hill for a full-bore congressional investigation, including assertions President Vladimir Putin was personally involved, Obama said in an interview that anytime a foreign government tries to interfere in U.S. elections, the nation must take action “at a time and place of our own choosing — and we will.”

“Some of it may be explicit and publicized, some of it may not be,” he told NPR News Thursday. “But Mr. Putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because I spoke to him directly about it.”

White House officials said it was “fact” that Russian hacking helped Donald Trump’s campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Administration officials on Thursday also assailed Trump himself, saying he must have known of Russia’s interference.

No proof was offered for any of the accusations, the latest to unsettle America’s uneasy transition from eight years under Obama to a new Republican administration led by Trump. The claims of Russian meddling in the election also have heightened already debilitating tensions between Washington and Moscow over Syria, Ukraine and a host of other disagreements.

“Only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” presidential spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters assembled in the White House briefing room, repeating the words from an October U.S. intelligence assessment.

Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, connected the dots further, saying it was Putin who was responsible for the Russian government’s actions.

“I don’t think things happen in the Russian government of this consequence without Vladimir Putin knowing about it,” he told MSNBC.

The explosive accusation paints Putin, the leader of perhaps America’s greatest geopolitical foe, as having directly undermined U.S. democracy. U.S. officials have not contended, however, that Trump would have been defeated by Clinton on Nov. 8 if not for Russia’s assistance. Nor has there has been any indication of tampering with the vote-counting.

The Kremlin rejected the claim of Putin’s involvement, with Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissing it as “laughable nonsense.”

There has been no specific, persuasive evidence shared publicly about the extent of Putin’s role or knowledge of the hackings. That lack of proof undercuts Democrats’ strategy to portray Putin’s involvement as irrefutable evidence of a directed Russian government plot to undermine America’s democratic system.

The dispute over Russia’s role is fueling an increasingly public spat between Obama’s White House and Trump’s team that is threatening to spoil the delicate truce that Obama and Trump have forged since Election Day to smooth the billionaire businessman’s move to the White House in little over a month.

Although the president and president-elect have mostly avoided criticizing each other publicly since Trump’s win, their aides have been more openly antagonistic. Obama, however, did take a direct swipe at Trump in an interview on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” earlier this week, noting that Trump at one point in the campaign had publicly encouraged Moscow to find and release information on Clinton.

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s senior transition adviser, said it was “breathtaking” and irresponsible that the White House had suggested Trump knew Russia was interfering to help his campaign.

That led Earnest to unload from the White House, arguing that Trump, who has dismissed the CIA’s assessment of Russian interference, should spend less time attacking the intelligence community and more time supporting the investigation that Obama has ordered.

Earnest said it was “obvious” Trump knew what Russia was doing during the campaign, pointing out that Trump had encouraged Moscow during a news conference to find Clinton’s missing emails, repeating the assertion Obama made in “The Daily Show” appearance.

Trump has said he was joking.

“I don’t think anybody at the White House thinks it’s funny that an adversary of the United States engaged in malicious cyber activity to destabilize our democracy,” Earnest said. “That’s not a joke.”

U.S. intelligence officials have linked the hacking to Russia’s intelligence agency and its military intelligence division. Moscow has denied all accusations that it orchestrated the hacking of email accounts of Democratic Party officials and Clinton’s campaign chief, John Podesta, and then leaked them to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

Trump and his supporters insist the Democrats’ outrage about Russia is really an attempt to undermine the validity of his election victory.

Still, Democrats pounced on the latest suggestions of Putin being connected to the daily drip of emails during the presidential race from some of Clinton’s closest advisers.

Putin was “clearly involved,” said outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

“Having been the former head of the KGB, does that surprise you?” Reid said. “And does it surprise anybody today when he denied it?”

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  • from what I heard from todays news is that high officials in the intelligence office under Obama said no Russian hacking existed in the elections there never was but the AP and SA who prints these lies still trying to make all you media brainwash people believe this crap.

    • also hey SA and AP heard on this morning news that a campaign member of hillarys staff came forward and said he was the one leaking all the information on Hillary to wiki leaks to print not asange so there you go now we know who was leaking all the e-mail on Clintons campaign stuff. a person who got tired of hiding Hillary secrets. so that is that, the Russian theory which never happened and the wiki leaks have been solved time to move on and stop harping on old news, as they say, nothing new here folks.

    • So because “you heard it,” that makes it so? I’m looking at an article right now in the Wall Street Journal, hardly known as a liberal bastion, that says “US officials” have confirmed the Russians tried to breach security of the Repub. Nat. Comm. as well, but weren’t successful due to better security. That seems to confirm that yes Russian hacking did “exist in the elections.” If you want to read the story, google “Republican National Committee Security Foiled Russian Hackers.”

  • from what I heard from todays news is that high officials in the intelligence office under Obama said Russian hacking existed in the elections the AP and SA who prints these articles still trying to make all you media doubting people wake up to what’s out there

    • also hey SA and AP heard on this morning news that a campaign member of hillarys staff was caught lying after coming forward saying he was the one leaking all the information on Hillary to wiki leaks he admitted that it was Russia so there you go now we know who was leaking all the e-mail on Clintons campaign stuff. a person who got tired of hiding Hillary secrets came out and admitted it was Russia so that is that, the Russian theory which happened and the wiki leaks have been solved time to move on and stop harping on old news, as they say, nothing new here folks

        • It just amuses me that you want 100% conformation on everything and also. notorized copies, sworn affidavits and at least 50 eye witnesses that aren’t connected to any news media that has said anything negative about Trump in the last 20 years but you say you HEARD something and are now selling it is gospel and now it appears that you are saying there is a difference with news media on the radio vs TV…#MAGA

        • Don’t get me wrong I am not disagreeing or agreeing with what you say you heard, I am addressing how people justify things and reject things.

    • So how come the liberal media doesn’t want to report what Julian Assange said? Are the AP & SA themselves refusing to wake up to what’s out there?

      Wikileaks founder Assange on hacked Podesta, DNC emails: ‘Our source is not the Russian government’

      Julian Assange is a whistleblower who dedicates his work to exposing truth, he has no reason to lie.

  • michigan conducted a recount and uncovered massive voter fraud and vote tampering, not suspected voter fraud or voter tampering but actual evidence of voter fraud and voter tampering.

    detroit is just one example:
    95% of the precincts in detroit voted for clinton.
    60% of the precincts were disqualified from being recounted due to “irregularities.”
    37% of the precincts reported more voted ballots than registered voters in the precinct.
    one precinct’s ballot box was discovered to have only 50 voted ballots but reported 306 voted ballots in its poll book.

    the widespread systematic violations of voter laws could only be accomplished with government (obama and clinton) knowledge and support.

    • Democrats covering up criminal voter fraud and tampering by blaming Putin thus increasing tensions for the new administration to have to deal with.

      It has been obvious for years that these Demons (D) could care less about our country , only the power and riches gained by “running” it into the ground.

      Fortunately even the blind are starting to see it clearly.

  • Hey Barry, when you’re in a hole stop digging. If I were Trump I’d completely ignore this childish behavior and just let the democrats self destruct. Besides, it’s fun to watch. Also noteworthy is the fact that the media outlets that are pushing this nonsense (SA are you listening?) lost most of their credibility in the run up to the general election.

  • Russia never hacked anything no evidence Obama is taking the word of 4 low level agents of the CIA that are under his wing these agents probably converted to islam Obama mad at putin because putin told him off last year so I guess he wants to start a war with Russia and now he has that dummy McConnell the republican senate leader believing all this crap.

    • Wrongo, Came in with the economy tanking and the Dow heading to under 7000, but will be leaving with the Dow over 18,000. We shall see if the business expert will have similar success or if he will turn out like the typical modern day republican and give us a melt down.

      • So the high DOW and low full time employment and no rise at all in the average wealth and income is your idea of a good economy ? And the massive public debt is just a bonus huh ?

        What about the foundation of America’s wealth , The working man and woman ? I thought that was who the Demoncrats were supposed to represent. Clearly I thought wrong .

  • President Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

    President Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you.”

    So…is this what O meant? Thought it was a match made in Heaven? A Bromance?
    I guess it was one sided…O sounds like he was the one scorned.

    January 20, 2017 #MAGA The day America places a MAN in a MANS job!

  • “Obama vows retaliation…”
    Well, I’m sure Vlad is scared now. Shaking. Quaking, even in his ша́пка-уша́нка.
    Just the latest blah blah blah from Barry as he makes his way to the golf course.
    “We were frankly more concerned in the run up to the election to the possibilities of vote tampering, which we did not see evidence of,” Said Barry…3 days ago.
    “which we did not see evidence of”
    “which we did not see evidence of”

  • “No proof was offered for any of the accusations”. You really believe there’s going to be any retaliation for something they can’t prove actually happened.

  • Obama has always been terribly afraid of Putin and the Russians. Obama does not have the guts to do anything significant to punish Putin and the Russians.
    Under Obama’s policy of leading from behind the U.S. has become a paper tiger with no teeth. The Obama’s and Clinton’s got what they deserved, more shame
    and defeat.

  • a sad state of affairs when many verbal unsubstantiated accusations swirl about from many sources. sources making claims due to their own personal agendas related to recent outcomes of national activities related to the normal 4-year cycle of elections. some not accepting the results, hell bent on finding/creating a culprit. even the vehicles most vocal are not proven trustworthy in the way their powers have been manipulated in trying to steer the election in their direction to favor their candidate. US governmental agencies, the press, the social media, all contribute to the reigning confusion by muddying the sanctity of the election process. to parrot a quote from an unknown source, like it or not – we’re all in it together! it could all stop by not continually making assumptive claims WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF A SMOKING GUN. yes many differing groups have not been happy with the recent electoral outcome but to continually make wild accusations in the uncontrollable and unfettered media unsupported by facts but merely possibilities is IRRESPONSIBLE BLATHER.

    • from the article, “No proof was offered for any of the accusations, the latest to unsettle America’s uneasy transition from eight years under Obama to a new Republican administration led by Trump. The claims of Russian meddling in the election also have heightened already debilitating tensions between Washington and Moscow over Syria, Ukraine and a host of other disagreements.” this is an example of what i’m talking about – with national and inter-national consequences! to much shooting from the lip! EVERYONE SHOULD JUST CHILL AND LIGHTEN UP!

    • this is not like being false-cracked while doing nothing to instigate the hit. at least in this instance there is an immediate action to “RETALIATE” or react to. but to retaliate to a “source” of an unproven action is immature and illogical!

    • and – as in almost all situations like this, only the act retaliation is caught, recorded, and vilified, and not the “initiator” of the situation. so be very careful about any reactionary move…!

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